It is something we all face, we see what we had and we miss it. Consider NCIS, an awesome series, and when we were introduced to Agent Fornell, I remembered Joe Spano, he was young innocent, wearing a bowtie and being the psychiatrist at Hill Street blues station. I miss that series at times. I know time moves on and we got Blue Bloods now, yet Hill Street Blues struck a chord in 1981, others did less so, it is hard to explain, because it sounds negative on the series that are out now, but the reality is that something got lost in TV series in the last 10 years. There are series that spring outside the equation, series like NCIS, the Magicians, Lucifer, Fortitude, American Horror Story, but the equation is very unbalanced. When you are trying to figure out how that happened, do not worry, it is simple. In 2019, the number of original scripted television series in the United States hit 532. It is almost 450% up from 1981. Hollywood is so much towards creating amount and less about creating quality, which is why the series I mentioned and a few more stand out. I keep n hearing mentions of Game of Thrones, but not much more, one show takes the cake and that used to be different. Discussions were going on regarding Hill Street Blues, Dallas, Dynasty, Bergerac, Tatort, and a few more. Yet nowadays, the amount of series crossing our eyes increases, yet it seems that nothing between the ear sticks. That tends to be quality, not quantity. There is a reason why a series like NCIS has been around for 18 seasons. Yet at times I still think of the old Hill Street blues station. And each nation had its own quality shows. Germany brought us Tatort and Derrick, the UK gave us Bergerac, the Avengers, Hammer house of horrors, and the list from other nations goes on. But now it seemingly needs to be American, whilst overall (with a few exceptions) the quality is not fantastic, not bad, just not great. And I do believe it is not the cast, not the team and not the writers. It seems to be the pressures to create on too limited a schedule with repetitive ideas again and again.
Why is that?
It is no secret, Hollywood is all about return on investment, but that circle becomes virtual and fictive when quality goes down. There is a need to make money and we get that, I am not against the idea of making money, but what do you think when 2019 had 532 series, all needing originality, all needing ideas and only so many writers with actual original ideas around. It didn’t require rocket science, it was a simple equation. So how long does it take for the Hollywoodians to figure out that there is a limit to quality series that can be produced? You might think that I am talking out of my (non-mouth), but the setting of Netflix handing over $18 billion in the last year for IP should get us to ask questions. Netflix’s 2019 costs to buy, produce and license content will be $15 billion. And when you considered they made a little over $20 billion in 2019, it seems that I am wrong, but am I? Consider how long this pattern can continue? No one denies that you have to spend to make money. Yet, how is the equation correct? And
Netflix is merely one of several stations, so when this model implodes, we will see Netflix, HBO, Stan, Apple, Amazon and Disney, all spending billions, all whilst the people will have to make choices and we get that, as such some will survive, some will not, we all get that. Yet at that point, what happens to HBO, Stan, Disney, Apple, Amazon and Netflix? Where will you be?
I need to set a separation here, we have the money side and the creation side. Yet the money side will hinder, impair, and optionally drive the creation side, even though the negative sides are only looked at after things go wrong. I believe that continuation can only exist if the quality is of the highest caliber and I personally believe that this is not possible when you create 532 series in a year. At some point something has to give and that is before we consider that there are really good series out there and no one denies that they are good. Yet consider that in 2009 Joss Whedon created an amazing series called the Dollhouse, not merely a good series, it set the tone on serious matters and was cut off after two seasons. He also lost the tone on Firefly, yet that one is still around, after 17 years, now seen as a cult classic. Out of the 532 series, what else will we lose out on, because they are the silent victims, scrapped because the moment was wrong, the analyst did not get what mattered and as such the makers lose out. This setting is important, because with 532 titles that group will increase, too little time, too much to miss out on.
Creation cut short for reasons not within the stage of an audience. Streaming makes this a much smaller factor, but it still will not make it zero. Yes streaming will be important to give good series a larger chance, but in all that the numbers are not adding up, not when you consider what Netflix as one provider sets their cost at and all the other streamers with their own costs as well. Soon it will change again, yet not for the reasons you considered before. You see streamers have one larger station, and internet congestion will hit them too, especially in light of the issues hitting the internet. And we will see places all over the world get a earful of fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) and fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP), and int he end we will rely on all kind of matters, but we forgot that streaming is not alone, there are PC’s for gaming, there are computers for FaceTime, there are computers for work from home, gamers and now with PS5 and the new Xbox it will increase, there are ‘digital editions’ consoles without 4K drives and they all have to download. And they will need to do so a lot more than before on the Xbox One and PS4. The stage is not on the gamers, but we have already seen the news on YouTube and Netflix throttling down, so how can the growth rate continue when the internet is clearly becoming the weakest chain in that link? In March the Guardian reported ‘Disney+ streaming service to launch in UK with lower bandwidth’, so there you are, your new 4K TV so that you can admire Baby Yoda in the Mandalorian, and the service can merely give you 1080 resolution. That is the reality and it is not getting any better until 2023, so can you consider the issues that streaming has and cannot deliver? It is not merely the amount of series, it is the stage where we cannot see their full potential and the UK is not alone, these elements are showing up all over the Commonwealth, al over the EU and the US is also not absent of issues. It was a stage I saw coming in 2018, yet they all declared me a fool, now they say it is a complex issue. Well it is not, it is the issue that was clearly out in the open, ignored by too many. Even now we see the blame game continue n other fields, how long has the PS5 been sold out? How long did we know that this was a setting of hundreds of thousands per nation and we get ‘The UK’s biggest game retailer blames PS5 size for launch delivery delays’, really? The size was known for months, the amount of systems were known for months. Too many people are reacting at the 11th hour, in systems, on the internet and with the ISP’s. Who will they blame when streaming is cut down again? When do the people get the next news from ISP’s that there are issues? Oh, wait, that moment passed already. When we are treated to “Possibly the most common form of buffering occurs when your internet speed is too slow to download the amount of data needed”, as well as “You need at least 25 Mbps for 4K streaming video on your computer or Ultra HD enabled devices”, yet on a global scale and especially outside of metropolitan area that issue is becoming an issue in streaming. So as Net Neutrality is back on the political table in the US, it becomes a massively larger issue to face. This all is not the fault of the streamers, lets be clear about that part, they are a factor, but not the cause, like the blame game couriers, here the ISP’s should have been ready to a much larger degree and we cannot blame them for the covid lockdowns, yet the setting of bandwidth limits has been known for some time, at least a year and that was also out in the open, as such the stage we see will be a larger issue and that I merely a fraction of the station that I see, the math does not add up, it was clear for a much longer time and so far too many parties are aligned to ignore that part. We see solution A, option B and everyone dances around the overwhelming lack of bandwidth.
Consider that Saudi Arabia has a 5G internet that is 750% faster than anything the US has, did anyone consider the weird setting in that regard? And the interesting part is that no one is asking the questions that matters, how come that Saudi Arabia of all places has an internet is so much faster? It is a much larger setting and the people are seemingly kept blind, which is fine by me, but when you lose out on HD episodes of NCIS, American Horror Show season 10, Superman & Lois (2021), or A Discovery of Witches season 2 (2021)? When the throttling continues or increases, what happens to streaming? What happens to net neutrality? Did anyone consider that part of the equation when they saw the $15,000,000,000 bill that Netflix had for 2019? There was a reason why sacking Huawei was a really bad idea and others will soon catch up on that idea. I have no issues with an alternative being found, but none have the capabilities at present and they are unlikely to have them until 2022, should you doubt that? Take a look at how abysmal the USA has its 5G at present, look at how fast streaming is in rural USA, you see the US is a lot more than the 25 large cities and plenty of people live outside these places, should they not be able to stream at the max? When we see that discrimination is the prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, as is the streaming of rural versus metropolitans discrimination or not? Consider that for a moment. So let’s not wait until the 11th hour, let’s make sure that the right people look to the right places quickly, the term sooner rather than later cannot apply, we are already 2 years too late for that. It is the technology side, with the finance and creativity, too many forgot about the technology side of it and now it starts calling foul, it cannot deliver more.